The safe place, one cup at a time

By Jeff Smith
Special to the PREVIEW

My idea of an extreme sport is to pick up a library book without checking the review first. Sometimes, in a fit of book reading, you just have to throw caution to the wind and grab one when the passion seizes you. Still, I hate to lose my head in these matters.

Being safe is a big deal for me. During the Y2K scare many years ago, we went out and bought extra food, flashlight batteries and a plastic tank to store water in. Reading about all the things that could go wrong, but in the end didn’t go wrong, took a lot of time. No water, no lights, ATMs not working, nothing seemed safe.

Coffee cup in hand, I am getting an expresso shot of wisdom this morning to go with my cup of Joe. The subject of being “safe” is on the table.

From wise King Solomon, the Book of Proverbs 10:9, “He whose ways are upright will go safely, but he whose ways are twisted will be made low (Or he that takes crooked paths will be made known NIV).”

Solomon seems to be saying, “I make life more secure by doing upright things.”

You mean being righteous gives more safety than extra batteries and cans of tuna fish? That is what he is saying.

Being a king looks great at first, but all such rulers soon find out how shaky the job of being king really is. Public support is fickle. Some in the royal court lust for power and are not to be trusted. Kings seldom know who their friends are. There is a lot of pressure. The answer to being unsafe is found in this verse and it is simple. Do what is right. Be honest. There is safety in that. Those who conspire in secret get revealed soon enough.

Here is a second proverb on the smart way of being safe:

Proverbs 12:3, “No man will make himself safe through evil-doing; but the root of upright men will never be moved.”

It is tempting to want to surround ourselves with walls of money and power. Nothing wrong with money or power. Some have a secret, that if they can’t get those things the right way, they can always cheat. After all, even good people get stepped on.

Being righteous sure doesn’t protect us from problems. But wise people know that if you cut down the righteous, they still have roots. They bloom again. Cheaters don’t.

The following story was told by Bishop Vaughn J. Featherstone: “Many years ago I heard the story of the son of King Louis XVI of France. King Louis had been taken from his throne and imprisoned. His young son, the prince, was taken by those who dethroned the king. They thought that inasmuch as the king’s son was heir to the throne, if they could destroy him morally, he would never realize the great and grand destiny that life had bestowed upon him.

They took him to a community far away, and there they exposed the lad to every filthy and vile thing that life could offer … For over six months he had this treatment — but not once did the young lad buckle under pressure.

Finally, after intensive temptation, they questioned him. Why had he not submitted himself to these things — why had he not partaken? These things would provide pleasure, satisfy his lusts, and were desirable; they were all his. The boy said, ‘I cannot do what you ask for I was born to be a king,’” (“The King’s Son,” New Era, Nov. 1975, 35).

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This story was posted on April 3, 2014.